The “use it or lose it” principle applies to your mind as well as your body. And you know that crossword puzzles, card and memory games, chess, keeping up with news of the world and taking an interest in people and everything around you are important in maintaining the abilities of your brain. Your diet is also vitally important, of course.
Here’s one of the most effective and pleasant ways to keep a sharp memory as the years go by. It doesn’t just maintain your memory, it’s also a vital factor in extending your life. Try phoning a friend. Keeping in touch with friends and loved ones could slow the pace at which your memory and your body decline with age.
A study (American Journal of Public Health, July 2008) of over 17,000 older adults showed that people who were married and in regular contact with friends, family, and neighbours had slower declines in memory than their less social counterparts. Activity in volunteer groups was also significant. Memory declines in the most socially active people were about half of those in the least social group.
The researchers were not sure how social activity prevented memory decline, but proposed that a greater sense of meaning and emotional acceptance from social connections may support healthy brain chemistry.
Another study found that when people spent cash on someone else or on a charity, they experienced greater happiness than those who used it on bills or personal items. Don’t have any extra cash? Giving of your time and expertise, and volunteering your work, have the same effect.
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